Red-crowned Woodpeckers are residents of both arid and moist habitats including coastal and desert scrub, dry forests, humid forest edges, second growth, deciduous forests, plantations, urban parks, and other cultivated areas. In areas with full wooded coverage, they are more likely to be found at higher levels, while in more open areas, they tend to come to lower levels. In regions where this woodpecker overlaps with the Black-cheeked Woodpecker (Melanerpes pucherani), the Black-cheeked is dominant in wooded areas. Red-crowned Woodpeckers forage individually or in pairs at all levels of the forest, searching for insects, fruit, or even taking nectar from flowers. Both males and females drum and give hard rattling calls. Among their common nesting sites are cacti, fence posts, and trees. Pairs stay together year-round but sleep individually in holes.